The cab, radiator and grille – Update # 10

Steve has started working on the Diamond T radiator and grille, and further progress has been made this week with the roof / back of the cab.

The Radiator

The radiator was manufactured by the Modine Manufacturing Company in Racine, Wisconsin. A large number of U.S. Patents was filed by Arthur B Modine / Modine Mfg Co over the years, and twelve of these patents are referenced on the ID plate.


Model No AD-4877L047

Steve delivered the radiator to Scott at South Auckland Radiators in Manukau to discuss and plan the repairs. With the visible and obvious damage to the core, there was certainly no need for a pressure test!

With the original core beyond repair, and to keep the radiator in its original style, South Auckland Radiators are getting a custom made, finned core manufactured.


In the meantime, Steve has had the remaining components of the shell repaired and blasted in readiness to paint prior to the re-assembly of the radiator.

Etch primer has been applied, leaving any areas bare that are to be soldered.


Initial repairs have been made to the top tank of the radiator.


The Grille


Steve brought the grille back to his workshop at home to work on it during the evenings. At a glance the grille didn’t look too bad but after careful inspection, Steve found that all 36 stainless grille bars are damaged to varying degrees. A few only contain dents while the majority are bent out of shape.


The bars slip over two central posts and are secured each side by rivets on a side rail.


Steve has repaired and polished a couple of bars so far. He has found it to be quite a time consuming process and with so many other areas of the tanker to work on, he will repair a few bars at a time each week.


The Cab


Steve removed the last of the components left in the cab. The rear window came out relatively easily, and removing the steel surround revealed square cut corners in the glass.


The rear window is in good condition and will clean up well. It will be reinstalled to keep the originality of the stock cab.


Something that proved to be very difficult and time consuming was removing the length of rubber that was attached at the back of the cab. A system had been developed whereby the rubber was sandwiched between steel and then bolted.


The rubber runs from one side, across the top and down the other. This rubber sits over the space between the cab and the tank body.


The rubber had totally perished and had become very brittle. Steve struggled to remove one complete piece that could be used for the rubber profile.


This short length was the only piece still intact that Steve could recover, and is all we have to use for a template.


With the cab finally fully stripped out, Steve delivered it to River Road Blast & Paint in Horotiu, the same shop where the tank body was sand blasted.


Steve and Tom Andrews were able to wait while the blasting was done. The inside of the roof extension was easily accessed and brought back to bare metal.


The roof and back of the cab came through the blasting reasonably well with no big surprises.


The holes through which the rubber is bolted are more visible now that the back has been cleaned up.


Once finished, Steve and Tom took the rear piece of the cab straight back to the Classics Museum workshop and painted it with etch primer. Steve was then able to bring it back up to Auckland on the same day.


As expected, the area above the windscreen revealed multiple air vents!

Our thanks to Tom Andrews once again for his time and help on the day, and to the team at River Road Blast & Paint for accommodating Steve with the “while you wait” service.



Dismantling the Diamond T cab – Update # 9


Some of the smaller Diamond T parts – Update # 11


  1. Tony Devereux

    Hi Steve & Sue. I guess most of the followers of this site have restored cars etc. From my viewpoint this is another level. Enormous project but enormous speed. Well done.

    • Sue Keys

      Thanks Tony. The project is progressing along well but as you know from personal experience, we have only just touched the surface.

  2. Scott

    First – It is a pleasure to read a blog where grammar, syntax and spelling count for something. It is so rare I had to comment on it.
    Second – It is also a pleasure getting to know something of the geography of the north island with its many tongue-tying names.
    Thank you

  3. Steve curle

    Hi sue
    Really enjoying the progress reports

    Steele may be able to help with the rubber

    Keep up the great work

  4. Very worthy project. Cant wait to see her all dressed up…. with lipstick! Hee Hee!

    • Sue Keys

      We can’t wait either Jerry. It will be exciting when splashes of red start appearing in the blog!

  5. Gary Arps

    Is it possible that the cab rubber may have been a flat section wrapped around and held captive as it was bolted together?? Most custom builds used things that were “off the shelf”, rather than have something special made.

    • Sue Keys

      The remaining rubber that was bolted in between the cab channel was single thickness, and the other edge had no holes present. So we believe it was originally a flat strip that was tucked in, and was unsupported, on the tanker side. Thanks Gary.

  6. Roy Grainger

    Hi Steve & Sue
    Will watch with interest.I own a Diamond T 305 which I purchased from the late Bill Richardson in the 1980’s.I saw Bill’s when it arrived from the States and I thought he was brave but yours is something again.I understand you have purchased a donor truck from these parts and I’m sure you will need it.Good luck. Roy Grainger.

    • Sue Keys

      Hi Roy. We did purchase another truck but it had too much NZ history to part it out. We have swapped the odd part across but have kept the second truck complete for a future restoration. We are about to get fabrication work done on the 614 cab by the same team who worked on the tank. Thanks for getting in touch.

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